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Game 3 Preview; Bruins look for series lead as play shifts to Tampa Bay

May 19, 2011

The Bruins will look to take the momentum from their 6-5 Game 2 win into Game 3 in an attempt to take their first lead of the series. Tyler Seguin had two goals and two assists in the win that was deemed his coming out party and the Bruins put some doubt into Dwayne Roloson, chasing the goalie after two periods. The game did bring to light some defensive zone problems on both sides, especially the Bruins.

The Bruins have given up 10 goals in the first two games, something highly uncharacteristic of team who gave up 189 goals this season, good for second in the whole league. The Lightning have a very explosive offense but the top threats haven’t hurt the Bruins as much as the grinders have. Even more concerning is the nature of most of the goals scored in the series. In truth only Steven Stamkos‘ goal was unstoppable and pretty, everything else was either a breakdown, a garbage goal, or a softy. Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk had pretty bad games in Game 2 and Tim Thomas had a roller coaster of a game as well.

The Bruins have dominated for long periods of time in the series but the Lightning’s quick strike offense has bit the Bruins. The Bruins back end can’t afford to take lapses in the beginning or end of periods and get behind because of laziness. The hopeful return of Patrice Bergeron should remedy some of that. Bergeron’s the best two-way player on the team and shores up the defensive zone well whenever on the ice.

If Bergeron does return tonight, which seems likely, expect to see Shawn Thornton as the scratch. Thornton played less than five minutes in Game 2 and although he was a part of some very good shifts, simply isn’t as valuable as Daniel Paille, who can kill penalties.

I expect the Bruins to play a much tighter game on the road because they don’t have the added pressure of having the power-play being booed or criticized. I feel like they typically try to hard to appease the fans at home and expend too much energy in doing so. Claude Julien is the type of coach who thrives off being a road team because his system is predicated on playing tight and eeking out wins.

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